Empire in the album: Soviet vernacular photography and the construction of Soviet space
Can we think of “empire” not as a macro sociological and political structure, but as something that lives on in everyday micro-practices, such as amateur photography? A guided excursion through Soviet family albums suggests this much. Travel photographs (ranging from formal group photographs of organized travel to amateur snapshots of the “wild nature”) are of particular interest here, because they can translate into everyday terms and naturalize such profoundly ideological constructs as empire, nation and citizenship. In this talk, we will see how such translation took place in the USSR, and explore the responses that Soviet-era travel snapshots evoke today.